Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss the goalie fight fascination, the end of the line for Anthony Calvillo, Canada's flag-bearer and the rodeo that has become the Edmonton Oilers.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is up to the Edmonton Oilers, because you can't be too careful these days. No sir, you have to watch out, especially when you are in year eight of a rebuild that has produced: three No. 1 overall picks, three other top-10 picks, five head coaches, no playoff appearances, public money for a new arena, an estimate that the franchise has nearly doubled in value, and one Kevin Lowe, who is currently the franchise's president of hockey operations. So when a guy tows a sign that reads “Kevin Lowe must go” in multicoloured letters outside your office, you'd better call the police, which you did, in case it turned violent. Because that's not a humiliating indication of a bunker mentality shared by a franchise whose treatment of its fans borders on a prank at this point. Right?
Dave Naylor, TSN Radio: My thumb is up to Anthony Calvillo, who made it official this week by announcing his retirement after 20 CFL seasons. Calvillo leaves the game with his name on most of the CFL's meaningful passing records and is regarded as one of the League's all-time greats. But what stood out about him again this week was his humility and class. Maybe it came from his modest upbringing in East L.A. or perhaps his time struggling as a member of the Las Vegas Posse or the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. But Anthony Calvillo's greatest asset as a player -- and what we should remember him most for - was the respect he had for the game, his family and his adoptive home of Montreal.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: Because the simple solution is generally the right one, my thumb is up to the Canada's flag bearer for Sochi, Hayley Wickenheiser. Wickenheiser might have lost the "C" on the ice, but she has not lost her commanding presence in the game, in the country or in the Olympic movement. She is the best player in the history of women's hockey, a three-time gold medalist and now a six-time Olympian, which includes one trip as a softball player. As for the flag-bearer curse … well, as a veteran observer of the SI cover jinx, I say “phooey”. What Wickenheiser carries Feb. 7 will have no impact what might occur in the gold-medal game Feb. 20.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is down to those hockey fans and especially those hockey commentators who were annoyed when they didn't get to see a goalie fight between Peter Budaj and Marc-Andre Fleury. To them, the officials who prevented it did something wrong. Really? Whenever one goalie decides, for whatever reason, or for no reason, to leave his end of the ice, and the other goalie decides to meet him halfway to throw punches, those in charge of the game should stand back and watch? I mean, the NHL looks silly enough for the stuff it doesn't try hard enough to prevent, but the minute it appears to encourage Budaj vs. Fleury, it's a midnight beer league.